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Uses

Toxic parts

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Edible uses

Notes

The fruit is probably edible when fully ripe but should not be eaten if it is bitter because this bitterness is caused by the presence of toxic compounds, see the notes above on toxicity[K]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains one large seed[1]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.

Fruit

Material uses

A very good plant for a low windbreak[2]. It is also used as a medium to tall hedge and for topiary[3][4][1].

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[5].

A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[5].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[6].
There are no medicinal uses listed for Prunus lusitanica.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Hedge

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[1]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[1]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[7]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[8][1]. Cuttings of mature wood, October in a sheltered north facing border outdoors[7].

Layering in spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Prunus lusitanica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds on all soil types[9], though it prefers a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[8][1]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[10]. Thrives on chalk according to other reports[11][4][1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[8][1].

Hardy to about -20°c[2]. A very ornamental plant[10], there are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value[4]. Grows well in a woodland[9]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[6]. Plants are susceptible to silver leaf disease[8]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[1]. The flowers are pleasantly scented[4].

Any trimming is best done with secateurs in August[4]. Plants are very tolerant of pruning.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus lusitanica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Prunus lusitanica.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus lusitanica
Genus
Prunus
Family
Rosaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    6 x 6 meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.001.011.021.031.041.051.061.071.081.091.101.11 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Shepherd. F.W. Hedges and Screens. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0900629649 (1974-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.5 Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. ()
    12. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-50

    Cite error: <ref> tag with name "PFAFimport-17" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.

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